Shapla or White water lily (Nymphaea pubescens, family: Nymphaeceae) is a common water plant and its flower is the national flower of Bangladesh. The plant grows from underwater soil. It is found in ponds, canals, beels and jheels along with Kolmi-lota, Keshordam, Chondromala, Chandmala, Maloncho, Jhajhidam and other Lilies in the country. The lovely aquatic plant is also found in Indian subcontinent as well as Southeast Asia. In Sanskrit literature it is mentioned as Kumuda.
Other names: Shaluk (Bang); White lotus, Hairy water lily, Pink water lily(Eng).
Petiole is very long : 60-70 cm. Leaves are round or ovate, floating on water, 15-45 cm long, edge dentate and wavy, upper side bright green and lower side reddish violet
Flower is white, reddish, or bluish. Sepals 4, elliptical-ovate, persistent, 3-9 cm long, outer side green, vertically striped; inner side bluish white. Numerous stamens surrounded the pistil at the centre of flower.
Flower usually blooms at night during rainy season. Fruit is globose, glabrous, with granular seeds inside.
It is used in dysentery, cough, vomiting, fever, gall and heart diseases. It helps the growth of sperm and breast milk. Seeds are fried to make 'khoi', which is edible. Shapla stems are eaten as delicious vegetables. If the root is not picked up completely, it is indestructible. Although this species has three different colors, it is unmistakable to say that the white one is the national flower of Bangladesh.
Synonyms: Nymphaea rubra, Nymphaea edulis, Nymphaea esculenta, Nymphaea lotus var. pubescens, Nymphaea magnifica, Nymphaea purpurea, Nymphaea rosea.
Kaat-badam or Bengal almond ( Terminalia catappa , family: Combretaceae) is a large deciduous tree with spreading horizontal branches. It is found in the tropical Asia, Africa and Australia. Common names: Katbadam, Deshi badam, Bengal almond, Indian almond, Tropical almond. During winter the beautiful green leaves of terminalia catappa turn to red. Leaves are simple, 15-25 cm long and 8-15 cm wide, obcordate, alternate or whorled. Flowers appear in the summer. Flowers are small, grey white, clustered on axillary or terminal spike. Flowers on the upper part of the inflorescence are male and those are on the lower part are bisexual. Fruit is elliptical, 4-6 cm long, red when ripe. The tree with nice canopy is planted in avenues and gardens as ornamental tree in Bangladesh. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds.
Tulsi o r Sacred basil ( Ocimum tenuiflorum , family: Lamiaceae) is an odorous perennial herb or undershrub with many branches attaining a height of 1-15 m. Almost whole body of the plant is covered with hairs. Stem is woody furrowed and quadrangular. Like many other herbs (Dhutra, Begun, Pepper) the plant can be purple. It is found everywhere in Bangladesh as a medicinal as well as sacred plant to Hindu community. It has spread across a huge global range, extending from the Arabian Peninsula to East Asia as well as Pacific Islands to Australia. Other names: Kalo tulsi (Bang); Tulasi, Ajaka (Sans); Holy basil (Eng). Leaves are strongly scented, green or purple, hairy, ovate-broadly elliptical, 2-5 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide, opposite, irregularly dented, petiole 2-3 cm long. Flowers are tiny, white or purplish, 3-8 on terminal inflorescence (12-25 cm long). Corolla bilabiate, petals 5, calyx divided into two parts, Stamens 4. It produces flower almost round the year. Fruit is nut
Guloncho or Heart-leaved moonseed ( Tinospora cordifolia , family: Menispermaceae) is a deciduous creeper with hard and long stem, climbing other trees or fences. Bark on the stem is as thin as paper. Aerial roots come out of the stem when the plant grows older. The plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh except southern part. It is also native to South and Southeast Asia. Common names: Heart-leaved moonseed, Guduchi, Giloy, Guloncho, Guroncho, Padma guloncho. Leaves are simple, green, alternate, cordate, 6-15 cm long and 5-13 cm wide. Inflorescence, growing from the axil of leaflet branches, bears yellow flowers. Male and female flowers bloom separately. Sepals 6, arranged in two rows, petal 6, pistils 3. Fruit is a drupe, brilliant red when ripe. This attractive fruit is inedible to human. What an extensive climber! Tinospora cordifolia is used in weakness, tastelessness, rheumatis